I’ve admired Boys Scouts way before I ever had boys, and knew that if I one day had any, I’d hope for them to be part of a group of little men-in-training trekking into the wilderness with nothing more than their “always prepared” backpacks and their wits, to learn practical survival skills and build character and comradeship. Everything about the Scouts conjured a positive image to me of nature-loving kids who were honest, good mini-citizens who were capable of handling challenging situations.
Once my son entered first grade, I signed him up at his request, and off he went once a week with his dad to engage in new lessons each week with his troop. He loved being part of a team, and I loved seeing him mature and learn, but I sort of felt a little bad for my younger guy who wanted to be part of if all too.
5 Year Old Lions
Like other parents, I want my children to participate in extracurricular activities that they enjoy and that provide them with skills and a sense of accomplishment. I’ve seen children as young as two being signed up for lessons, but I felt at that age I still wanted my sons to direct themselves when it came to fun and play- it was a good way for me to gauge their talents and interests. By five, however, I felt they were mature and aware enough to understand options I’d offer them and pick what they wanted to participate in, and they both wanted to be part of Scouts.
My younger son wanted to join Boy Scouts, like his older brother, but he is still a year too young to become a Tiger Cub. Research shows that childhood development accelerates around age five, so when I recently learned about the Lion Program, a new program for littler men who are ready for adventure while in kindergarten, I felt he was ready for it. The Lion program is one of the Boy Scout’s latest innovations to bring life-changing experiences centered in adventure, leadership and character development to even more boys and their families, and it’s a great way to start on the path of formal education and childhood development that takes place in kindergarteners.
There are many ways to learn life skills and build a foundation of character, and for us, Boy Scouts is the best. It’s all encompassing, teaching such a range of skills that result in well-rounded, smart young men capable of a great deal. More importantly, it teaches young boys character, which may be the best lesson of all.
Some of the things my son has done as a Tiger Cub:
* Raised money for the needy
* Made a little racecar to participate in the Pinewood Derby
* Built a simple bird house and placed it in our backyard for our neighborhood birds to visit
* Learned about his community, faith, and being part of a team
He has done a great deal more, and while I try to stay out of most of it so he and dad can have “guy time,” I did help find interesting foliage in our neighborhood when they were learning about nature and how to identify leaves. I read over what they do because I learn too, and it’s so fun for me to see what they are up to.
We plan our schedule for soccer, ice skating, and other activities around Scouts meetings, because for us, Scouts is the most beneficial for young men, and the one thing we wouldn’t do without. Now that the Lion Program is being developed, we can include both our dudes too.
Adventure & Character Building
The Lion Program is the all new curriculum of the Boy Scouts that offers experiences centered in adventure, leadership and character development to kindergarten-age boys and their families. It was developed by a team of experts in childhood development, education, and child psychology, and aims to helps parents who want to expose their kindergarten child to diverse experiences and creative activities, particularly in association with the Cub Scouting program. At the end of the Lion year, they “graduate” to Tiger and advance through Cub Scouting ♥︎
Lion Program badges are designed to be completed within a den meeting with a parent and includes lessons in sharing, working with others, and fix-it-yourself projects. It’s a safe place for younger children to start their adventure earlier, and get them excited for all those outdoor adventures to come. To learn more about the Lion Program and find out if it’s available near you, visit: Scouts Lion Program. Connect on Facebook and Twitter.
I was compensated by the Boy Scouts of America for this post, but all views are my own.